Is Your Career Preference Holding You Back?
By Donovan Grant
It finally hits you like a ton of bricks! The excitement of the dream job and company has worn off and now you feel stuck in a rut in your career. Worst still, you don’t know what to do about it. Plus you’re in mid-life.
If you are someone who has ever been stuck at a turning point in your career then read on my friend, read on…
You see, people get stuck in a rut in their careers for many reasons:
“I’ve been doing this for so long, I feel like I am pigeon holed in this role”
“I got promoted and a pay rise, but the role is not what I thought it was going to be!”
“I’ve had a tough year professionally so far and my self-confidence has been quite low.”
“Some days I feel like a caged lion who has had his freedom taken away!”
“I’m too old to change anything now.”
We could write a very long list of reasons why people get stuck but, that is not the point here. What’s more important is to figure out where exactly you are, what you want to do about it and what steps you need to take.
Q. So, why do people get stuck in a rut?
A. They are sitting in the career cage or the career comfort zone and they can't get out.
In The Career Cage
Well, to start with everyone’s situation is different, that’s for sure. However, many people either live their career in the past or in the expectations of other people. They got what was a ‘good job’ at the time and have never really ventured into the unknown or broken the barriers that others have set for them. After a while they get trapped in the identity and the beliefs about what is still possible for them.
People who are stuck in this rut are like a lion in a cage. Free to roam in the cage yet they feel powerless to open the cage to let themselves out. It’s almost like they are saying “no one gives me a chance”.
The question they often ask when they are stuck is “will I survive?”
In The Career Comfort Zone
There are other people who hang on to their big dreams and work hard to ensure that they move beyond the career barriers. They see opportunities, they go for it and they become successful. They get pay rises, promotions and they enjoy the feeling of success. You can normally spot these people in the office because they are normally engaged, empowered and energised.
After a while, even these people ask themselves questions: “Is this what I really wanted? Could I be doing something more creative? Am I really living my career dreams?” They secretly tell themselves “you’ve got a nice life; don’t mess it up.”
The truth is that these questions spring from a well of restlessness. It’s like your inner GPS is warning you that it’s time from growth and new challenges in your life. Something that will reignite your ambition and inner drive again.
The question they often ask when they are stuck is “will I be successful again?”
Enjoying The Courageous Career
So what's this courageous career then?
Well, when you take the step out of your comfortable career zone and into the courageous, you ask yourself higher level questions:
“am I living my true life?"
"am I reaching for my potential?”
You recognise that the boredom, routine and lack of adventure is holding you back and you start searching. Looking for one more challenge or opportunity that will fire you up. Maybe at the start of your career, meaning and purpose in your career was not that important. It was more about money and having a good tim. Now though, that you are in mid-career, meaning and purpose makes such a big difference.
"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong." ~ Ella Fitzgerald
The thing is people who enjoy a courageous career, face the same obstacles as other do. They see them as minor challenges rather than major blockers that stop you moving forward. They know that on the journey to a successful and enjoyable career, you will face turning points and opportunities to change and grow.
Don’t Get It Twisted
Most people in the caged and comfortable career zones think that if they turn up every day, be a good employee and do all their work on time they deserve to be highly rewarded. This is not true. Times have changed in a big way. This is the era where you are only as good as your last project. Or as Jim Collins so nicely put it “what got you here, won’t get you there!”
Keep Moving Forward
If you are in the career cage or career comfort zone and you’d like to move to the courageous zone here’s foursteps that will help you:
- Do a career health check and figure out where exactly you are (click on link)
- How is your career today relative to 1 year ago?
- In what ways are you growing?
- In what ways are you moving forward
The turning points in our career journey shape us, they sharpen us and they help to show us who we really are.
Maybe you are standing at your own career turning point today; maybe your job is at risk; maybe you’re overwhelmed with work; maybe your health is suffering because of work and you just seem to be stuck in a rut. Hold tight, my friend…
And remember this… when your career stops you at a turning point, You get to make a decision;
To give up and stay in a cage and comfort zone or to move into the courageous career zone.
From my heart to yours
From my heart to yours
What advice would you give to a friend who is stuck in the Career Cage? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Donovan helps Business Professionals in IT and Payments to get to the core of critical issues so they achieve great results in business and life. Clients make changes to help position them as leaders so they can over-deliver and stand out in a crowd.
For more information about getting shaping and growing your career on your terms please click here.